Target: Keith M. Kaneshiro, Prosecutor for Honolulu County, Hawaii
Goal: Do not allow a teen who allegedly killed endangered albatrosses to escape conviction.
A Hawaiian teen and his classmates allegedly went on a killing rampage in 2015, which resulted in the deaths of 15 endangered Laysan albatrosses in a protected natural area. The Ka’ena Point Natural Reserve is managed by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) as a crucial breeding ground for these birds. The teens are suspected of having trespassed into the prohibited area while they were camping, where they proceeded to destroy surveillance equipment and attack the birds in a gruesome manner. Some of the birds had their limbs hacked off while others were bludgeoned to death. A number of eggs and nests were also destroyed.
Now, one of the defendants has plead no contest to a single count of animal cruelty on the grounds that the rest of his charges are dropped, meaning that he could possibly escape conviction and face no jail time. The message this sends to potential animal abusers and others who might harm endangered wildlife is reckless, suggesting that such acts of cruelty can go essentially unpunished. A spokeswoman for the DLNR has expressed her outrage, saying that the teens’ actions were greatly disruptive to the hard work that her department carries out to protect this endangered bird.
As endangered wildlife now face greater threats than at any other time, we must do all we can to ensure that those who would cause them harm are brought to justice. The callous nature of this killing cannot be allowed to go unpunished. We must ensure that all counts of cruelty and illegal behavior are brought to justice for all parties who were responsible. Sign this petition to urge the prosecutor to push to punish this teen.
Dear Mr. Kaneshiro,
A teen accused of having been involved in the killing 15 endangered Laysan albatrosses has pleased no contest to the charges that he illegally entered a prohibited area and was involved in the senseless murder of these birds. While as part of this plea deal the teen has agreed to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the other teens involved, we cannot allow over a dozen charges of animal abuse and cruelty brought against him to be dropped.
These birds were mutilated and tortured before they were killed, their legs severed and their heads crushed. The nature of these killings is disturbing, and should be considered a potential public threat. We cannot allow any of those involved to escape conviction or punishment.
I urge you to work to ensure that if the teen’s admission of guilt is accepted, that the maximum penalties are sought.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: John Klavitter/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service